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Lots of changes on XStreet which will impact many small content creators. Read about it here.

Also, I had heard rumors of VIP vendor status in the works. A couple of friends of mine got asked to take a survey about some possible changes. They are both premium members who have items listed on XStreet. I have items there too, but I haven't received a request yet. I am not a premium member. After comparing notes we found that I sell more items than they do, but that my items cost much less. I have no idea if any of that came into play in who was asked to take the survey, but if you were not asked for your input and want to know what's up, here are the main points.

And if someone already posted about this, I've been busy of late :D

From the email of Pink Linden:

The survey presents several concepts that are example of ways Linden Lab might be able to further support Second Life merchants and the inworld economy. None of these concepts are currently on our development roadmap, they’re just hypothetical scenarios that we’d appreciate your thoughts on.

Please take the survey (link below) and give us your input. It should take about 10 minutes to complete.

From the survey:

Concept number 1 - Special vending machines:

Usage of the vending machine will allow the merchant to receive premium support for merchant activities, enable automatic listing on XStreet SL, and ensure that all items are delivered.... guaranteed. Additionally, the vending machines provide rich data reporting and business metrics.

In exchange for the use of the vending machines, Linden Lab will assess a 10-15% surcharge on all purchases.

Concept number 2: Promotional program

Cross-promote your items on XStreetSL and get Premium Classified Listings.

By joining this program, any item you list for sale in-world can also be auto-listed on XStreetSL. Cross-posted items will automatically be displayed, in rotation, in a premium position as a sponsored listing in on the Classifieds page.

To participate in this program, a small surcharge will be assessed a fee 5-10 $USD for each item cross posted.

Concept 3: Marketing Program

The program would provide exclusive use of branding systems, customized store systems (such as a custom URL/SLURL and web storefront), and automatic consideration for large scale promotions. Also included is a data dashboard to enable you to track purchases in real-time. Customer service tools such as AvaLine mean that you are always able to talk with your customers.

Membership in the merchant marketing program would be available at a cost of $10-100 USD monthly, depending on sales volume.

Concept 4 - Free land for Second Life merchants:

Linden Lab has developed an Island in Second Life that enables merchants to create their own stores as large or small as they desire. Display your creative works from shoes to houses.

In exchange for the free land and promotion of the Mall, Linden Lab will assess a 30% surcharge on all purchases.

There were also questions about how much you sold on XStreet verses inworld, whether you owned land, how much advertising you do and how much RL income you make from Phil's Place.

And another hmmm!

I am a little guy in the big scheme of SL business and much of this won't affect me. I flow around the rocks as needed and don't get my feathers ruffled too often. I will be taking down my XStreet offerings as they are in the low end part of the spectrum where the profits are very minimal. I won't be joining in any of those possible pricey new marketing options should they come into play. Always happy to foster the creative newcomers and little guys, I applaud the plan to let people have free shops. There have been experiments like this in the past however (not from The Labs) that did not prove fruitful. So the viability of the mall is questionable.

This is what I see and what I am thinking. Please feel free to add any comments. 

We seem to have a lot of content creators now as well as a group of  faux content creators, resellers and the like. I am sure some folks are still making scads of money; the LL reports seem to confirm that anyway, but there also seems to be a growing base of those just making rent or paying RL dollars to have their dream of a little shop. These are all choices of course, and whatever makes people happy is a good thing. 

Some of the proposed options above greatly favor those who can spend dollars in order to promote their businesses. With the changes in XStreet, there will no longer be a free opportunity to show goods and if the big players join in the merchandising programs that come into play in the future, the little guys move further down the food chain.  

Will we end up with even a larger gap between those that can spend money to make money and those that have only talent? I'd hate to see that. 


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